A chieftain of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua, has replied a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on his comments about zoning, and urged the presidential aspirant to speak the truth in respect of zoning as enshrined in the constitution of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Afegbua, was reacting to comments credited to the former vice president that zoning of the presidential ticket was not enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Afegbua, a former commissioner of Information in Edo State, who three weeks ago, advised Atiku to quit partisan politics on account of old age, reiterated yesterday his stand that the former vice president quit the stage for a presidential candidate of southern extraction.
Afegbua said in a statement, yesterday: “For selfish and egocentric reasons, I have read some aspirants talking about the absence of zoning in the Nigeria constitution. In order to serve their selfish end and contest the 2023 presidential election against the run of play, they have resorted to making references to the 1999 constitution to support their weak argument against zoning of political offices”
“It must be stated unequivocally that zoning means the same thing as federal character, which is expressly captured in the 1999 constitution”
‘’The federal character talks about political balancing of positions and appointments, which is the same thing as zoning. Zoning means divide into or assign to zones, positions and appointments whether by way of election or appointment”
“For those who are declaring that there is no zoning in the constitution, why has it been the practice that each time a candidate emerges from the north, his vice presidential candidate comes from the south, and vice-versa?
‘’The Senate president is also zoned to another geopolitical zone, ditto the speaker of the House of Representatives, and even the Secretary to Government of the Federation”
“If there is no zone, these positions could have been concentrated in one geopolitical zone, but for that federal character provision in the constitution, which is similar to zoning, we have made it a point of duty to observe zoning. In a plural society like Nigeria, given our diversities, one cannot do without zoning and power sharing”
“No matter how nepotistic the Buhari presidency is, it has observed the principle of zoning positions to create some level of balance. I am aware that President Buhari’s style has been skewed in favour of his Northern zone,” he added.